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I've been meaning to write down a few li'l things here for a long, long time. Sorry for being out of touch.

First, to finally document here that I am, in fact, and somewhat sadly, back from Spain; I have been for over a month now. Just never got around to saying so. Maybe I was in denial. The trip changed my life, and I do now have the goal of moving there, though I am not encouraged by the stories I hear about how difficult it is for foreigners to get jobs in Europe.

Second, I have broken my coffee addiction, at long last. It was getting crazy. Five cups a day. No sleep. Anxiety, and so forth. Of course, I've replaced it with a new tea addiction, but it's not the same level of stimulation, and I'm only having about 3 cups of tea per day. I am, I must say, quite proud of myself.

There is another thing I want to document here. I am enrolled this semester in a class, LGBT200, at The University of Maryland, College Park. The bulk of my grade will come from journal entries reflecting on assigned reading, and I have received permission to do my journaling electronically, what with paper being SO last-millennium. So when I got to thinking about my need to journal, and about the fact that it will be interesting stuff that I will have to say, and the fact that we have day logs here, I think I am going to do my homework on E2. Not just noding my homework, but actually producing and presenting my assignment via the E2 infrastructure.

Now, I have no aim to diverge from the mission of "Journalism, not journal writing". My entries will be daylogs, but I swear to God they will be interesting and worth reading, because they will be specific responses to things I've read, at least in part. In fact, if they are specific enough to a certain work, or if my comments are bounded enough to merit a node to themselves, I'll make it. But I am writing this entry just to document for anyone who cares that I am not aiming to become a daily day-logger filling the database with crap. (I'm not saying anyone else is such a person either, by the way).

I think it's a neat idea to actually produce one's homework assignment here on E2 and present it to his teacher via E2 also. When it's time to turn in the journal at the end of the term, I'll probably present the teacher with a printout of some E2-FAQ node, and I'll let him know that he can find all of my entries online.

Now, this will require some assurance that the server will be up, and that my writeups won't be eaten, of course. And I can't necessarily count on either, because neither is 100% certain. So, of course, I'll back up my writeups, in case there's a problem.

So in closing, I'm back in the USA, I'm petrified that George W. Bush will be re-elected, I'm energized to finish school so I can move to Spain, I'm feeling pretty good about life, and I quit coffee.

And I have mastered the subjunctive mood of both English and Spanish.

Friends!... Does this describe you?

"Some nodes, my messages to the author turn out to be longer than the w/u itself." - eliserh

Do you /msg people about their spelling errors, even though you're not an editor?

Do you yearn for feedback on your writing more than for shiny shiny upvotes?

Do you froth at the mouth when you see an ungrammatical writeup?

Boy, do we have a usergroup for you!

E2pandas is a new group for people who like nerding over linguistics, English usage, punctuation, and giving each other feedback on our writing.

It derives its name from "the panda joke," as featured in Eats, Shoots and Leaves. If you liked that book, you should join us. If you want to learn what a split infinitive is, you should join us. If you want to nodevertise shamelessly to get lots of extra attention on all your writeups, you should join us.

I'm not just the president of the Hair Club for Men... I'm also a member

E2Pandas arose because I found the thrill of the upvote was beginning to die away. I wanted people to tell me what they thought about my writeups. I wanted to hear that the overall piece was good but the second paragraph was a little confusing. Or that the way that the writeup synthesized this and that idea was new and interesting. Or that it had made someone understand the subject in a new way. I wanted a place where people who loved writing and talking about writing could congregate.

Being an anal bitchy grammar queen, I also felt the need for a place where I could lean over to the person beside me and say, "Oh my god! I am so taking this person's apostrophe key away! Holy jesus, if one more person says 'The reason is because,' I'm going to scream!" Just in the nicest possible tones, you understand. With love.

I secretly fantasize about starting a Save the Subjunctive society. If you are as crazy as I am, or if you just want to talk about writing, join me.

"I'm just glad there's a group with my name all over it." - wordnerd

This usergroup exists thanks to the superlative work of knifegirl. Bow before her.

In San Francisco, a few people like to decorate humble cars. There is the the Mondrian moblie, and '83 Nissan Sentra repainted and rescultped into one of Piet Mondrian's cubist fantasies. There is the Bramobile a Ford Windstar whose owner thought her steed deserved a bra made out of bras. And lipstick cases, compacts, and other accouterments of fashion that women deal with but men need not

In Columbus, we have the Elvis Lady. She lives close by, and you could see her from a mile off. She drove an '87 Chevy Cadaver in blue and rhinestones. Every square inch of her Cavalier had been decorated in a manner befitting the King. Elvis's name had been written out in rhinestone scrip on her doors,. White cotton candy covered the back deck and dashboard, and upon the dash, front and center stood a bobblehead of Elvis himself, ready for Las Vegas. Elvis license plate holders front and rear. Sometimes I would follow, for I had heard she had pressed Elvis's picture into her hubcaps.

One day I noticed she had disappeared. I had gone months without catching sight of her spangled little Cavalier. it was as if we drove different roads now Had she moved? Or had the Kingmobile met it's final end crushed beneath an SUV?

I didn't know. No one did. Until today.

She's back, in a Buick. The rhinestones ae gone, as is the bobblehead, but she's back. I know. I could never forget that face, that hairdoo. Her car is white now, but the King's Name has been painted on the doors, in the appropriate script. But there's more. On the back she has written, Elvis LIves on, Mike Albert.

I shuddered. Mike Albert is Columbus's most important Elvis impersonator. Instead of honoring the King's memory, she now shills for one of his imitators. Has she fallen so low, or is this an important step forward?

We all seek ways of giving our lives meaning. For some it our work, for others, children, others a hobby. Some seek to escape into other worlds to find meaning. Others subsume themselves into the greater glory of an athletic team, or a charismatic shaman. The Elvis lady had Elvis. Now she has Mike Albert.

Elvis has left the building. Perhaps his Blue Suede Shoes have sat empty for so long that she needs them filled, if only by a surrogate.

700

Ladies and gentlemen, i would like you to turn your attention to Mr. Barry Lamar Bonds.

On this momentous day, September 17, 2004, Barry has joined the ranks of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron as the only players to hit 700 home runs in Major League Baseball. This feat is all the more weighty considering only 5 players have topped 600 and only 19 have reached 500. This, of the thousands of players who have stepped up to the plate in the majors. It's down to 3.

So just how good of a season is Barry having anyway?

   G  AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI  BB  K SB CS   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
 132 340 118 127 27  1 42  96 207 33  6  1 .374 .613 .821 1.433

Well, for starters, his .374 batting average is tops in the National League. So is his .613 on-base percentage, his .821 slugging percentage, and his 207 walks. His 42 home runs are tied for third in the league, and his 118 runs are second.

But what makes this season incredible is how it stacks up against the other great offensive seasons of all-time.

His 207 walks are the most issued to a batter ever, as are his 105 intentional walks. His .613 on-base percentage is the highest single-season total ever. His .821 slugging percentage is only the fourth best ever (though he holds the #1 record for his impossible 2001 year.) His 1.433 OPS (on-base + slugging) is the best ever in a season.

People would like to pretend that Adrian Beltre, Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols, and Jim Edmonds are contenders for the National League Most Valuable Player award. I say to this, "Ha ha ha" and here is why: The only reason a player with Bonds's statistical domination has been denied an MVP award is when their team is not a playoff contender. In fact, Alex Rodriguez is the only player to ever win an MVP while playing for a losing team. Yet Bonds' Giants are only 2.5 games back from the first place Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, and are currently leading the wild card race.

Even more to the point, Bonds is far and away the "most valuable" player on the Giants. Without him, his team would most likely be a .500 club at best. He has singlehandedly made them a playoff contender. Would the Cardinals be struggling without Pujols, Rolen, or Edmonds? The short answer is maybe, but the long answer is that they simply do not contribute as much to their team as Barry does to his. The same is true for Beltre, although he is having a spectacular season.

And that is what makes Bonds that much more amazing. Rolen and Beltre are both having career years - years that might wind up being arguments for their induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. And yet Bonds is blowing them away, hands down, no sweat. He is at least twice as dominating as they are, and Edmonds is, and Pujols is.

To Barry's critics, who point to his possible steroids use and his surly demeanor, I can only say I'm sorry that you choose to focus on the negative, when this man has achieved the truly spectacular. Here is the greatest player to ever play the game since Babe Ruth, a revolutionary player, a one-of-a-kind diamond in the rough, and he will always be remembered as a giant of the game.

Congratulations, Mr. Bonds. We were rooting for you all the way.

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